Late Friday evening, Assembly Bill 987, authored by Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove and Senator Steven Bradford, was approved by both houses of the Legislature with overwhelming support and awaits the Governor’s final approval to be signed into law. This bill will help streamline the process in which the new, Los Angeles Clippers arena and the larger sports and entertainment project, can be built in the City of Inglewood.
“In Inglewood and some of the surrounding communities in my district, roughly 30 percent of children live below the poverty line and unemployment is twice the state average,” said Senator Bradford (D – Gardena). “As a longtime resident and elected official in this region, I have worked towards addressing this problem, which is absolutely unacceptable. The way we change this is by providing greater opportunities for work, with respectable wages, and higher quality healthcare, benefits, schools and public services. AB 987 helps ensure this by facilitating the construction of the new, state of the art arena, bringing jobs and the much needed tax revenue that will come with it.”
“We are now one step closer to bringing the world’s best basketball arena to a community that deserves the best,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said in a statement late Friday. “… with the passage of this bill, we are proudly setting a new standard for environmental responsibility. AB 987 puts into writing the promise we’ve made to Inglewood from the start: to be exceptional neighbors who care passionately about the Inglewood community and its citizens.”
The Clippers arena project is slated to create over 10,000 construction jobs, 1,400 permanent jobs, over $1 billion in local investments, and generate millions of dollars in tax revenues to improve city schools, parks, libraries and public safety services. A longstanding debate in the Legislature exists over the stringent restrictions that the California Environmental Quality Act, also known as CEQA, presents and whether or not they should prevent projects such as these from occurring. Currently, CEQA requires that prior to the construction of projects, local and state agencies must identify and developers must disclose the environmental impacts and a process in which such impacts can be mitigated. This has caused a significant barrier to the completion of critical projects and highlights the importance of a continued discussion around CEQA. Overall, AB 987 still requires a full and comprehensive Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and mandates that the new facility will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certified, but also safeguards the project from ongoing litigation, which will prevent developers from meeting project deadlines.
“For far too long, the City of Inglewood and surrounding communities that I represent, have been overlooked and often ignored,” continued Senator Bradford. “If projects in other localities across California can be expedited for football stadiums, basketball arenas, entertainment venues, tech companies, high-rises, transit projects and even prisons, then we too deserve the same treatment for projects in our region. This is about more than basketball, it is about Black and Brown communities determining and establishing its own economic destiny.”
AB 987 has received widespread support from city and county elected officials, the California Legislative Black Caucus, South Bay Cities Council of Government, labor unions, local community members and other public safety, religious and community organizations and businesses.